Coronavirus impact on planning

Service update

At the current time the Council is continuing to register and validate planning applications and deal with the applications in a near as normal way as possible. This follows the advice of Central Government. In additions, consultations are on going and follow the advice recently issued by the Government.

The Council relies on external parties to carry out the statutory consultation process and the ability to fulfil this is being monitored.

Planning enforcement requests continue to be actioned where possible. However, site visits are limited to exceptional circumstances, such as works to Listed Building and Trees subject to a Tree Preservation Order.

Development management and planning enforcement officers are not currently conducting site visits; you may be requested to provide further photographic information to assist in progressing cases. Please supply photographs with your application on submission.

The Development Management service is continuing to deal with its regular range of cases. However, as all staff are following the Prime Minister’s advice aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19 and are largely working from home, the service is not be able to receive or process hard copy correspondence. During this temporary period, it is recommended in order to avoid delays that:

Please do bear with us and be patient as we work through what we can and can’t do. Further updates will be posted here.

Revised hours of working on construction sites

The Written Ministerial Statement ‘Construction Update’ (13 May 2020) made it clear that construction work can be undertaken providing sites are able to operate safely in line with the new COVID-19 Secure guidelines. The Business & Planning Act includes legislation to make temporary extensions to work hours that may be required to facilitate safe working and allow tasks to be completed where social distancing can be challenging. Longer working hours may also be needed to facilitate social distancing in the wider community, for instance by reducing pressure on public transport.

Local planning authorities are being called upon to take a swift and positive approach to requests from developers for greater flexibility around construction site working hours. The London Borough of Wandsworth appreciate that a balance needs to be reached between protecting residents and businesses that are sensitive to noise, dust or vibration, and enabling the construction industry to recover to provide vital homes, schools, community facilities and business

The Government produced further guidance on 22 July 2020 which outlines a new fast track 'deemed consent' route to amend an existing planning restriction on construction working hours. the following 

This new route is provided under section 74B of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and allows urgent changes to construction working hours to support safe construction working. For many construction sites, the implementation of this guidance will require changes to working practices, including staggered starts and finishes, requiring different hours of operation to those which are currently permitted. This temporary, fast track deemed consent route enables existing hours of construction work imposed in a planning condition or in details discharged by a planning condition to be varied.

Information to accompany an application

There is no specific application form or fee that would apply to the submission of these applications. Applicants will need to provide details of:

  • The planning permission to which the application relates
  • The existing agreed construction working hours
  • Details to identify the condition or approved document such as construction management plan which details the working hours
  • The proposed revised construction working hours
  • The date the revised construction working hours should take effect
  • The date on which the application is sent
  • The date on which the revised construction working hours should cease to have effect (no later than 1 April 2021)

To aid swift decision making, applicants should also provide:

  • A short justification on why extended hours are necessary to enable safe working practices on site
  • A list of the primary construction activities, expected to take place during the extended working hours, including plant and equipment to be used
  • A proportionate assessment (where relevant) of the likely impact of noise upon sensitive uses near to the site (e.g. dwellings, hospitals and, care homes)
  • Details of their mitigation plan as set out in the guidance

Please note that applications can only be made online.

The new guidance gives The London Borough of Wandsworth 14 calendar days to consider such an application. If an application is approved, this will temporarily amend planning restrictions on construction working hours until 1 April 2021, unless another date has been agreed by the local planning authority and applicant. If the application is not determined within 14 days (excluding public holidays), the revised working hours are deemed to have been consented to and construction can take place in accordance with these new hours.

Permissions extended

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) have as part of the Business and Planning Act confirmed measures to "enable development which has already received the grant of planning permission or listed building consent and would lapse between 23 March and 31 December 2020 to be extended until 1 April 2021".

The provisions come into force on 18 August 2020. Where planning permission/ outline permission would expire between 23 March and 18 August 2020 the Act extends permissions until 1 May 2021, subject to the LPA granting an ‘additional environmental approval’. The additional environmental approval is deemed to be granted unless the LPA gives notice of its decision prior to the end of a 28 day period from the day after the application was sent.

Where planning permissions/ outline permissions have/ are due to expire between 19 August and 31 December 2020, the Act extends permissions automatically until the 1 May 2021. The provision for LBCs extends all consents that were due to expire between 23 March 2020 and 31 December 2020 to 1 May 2021.

Temporary uses

In June 2020, amendments were made to The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) Order 2015 to increase the period that temporary uses can operate without the need for express planning consent.

Class B, Part 4, Schedule 2 of the above Order already allows for the use of any land for any purpose for up to 28 days in total in any calendar year (and 14 days for markets) and the provision of any moveable structure associated to that permitted use.  This is subject to the site not being with the curtilage of a building. 

In June 2020, Class BA was introduced to the Order, which allows for the use of any land, in addition to that permitted by Class B, Part 4 of Schedule 2, for any purposes for not more than 28 days in total during 1 July 2020 to 31 December 2020 (and 14 days for markets) and the provision of any moveable structures for the purpose of the permitted use. This is subject to the site not being within the curtilage of a listed building.

Therefore, between 1 July 2020 and 1 July 2021:

  • Land that is not within the curtilage of a building can operate a temporary use for 56 days
  • Land that is within the curtilage of a non-listed building can operate a temporary use for 28 days.
  • Land within a curtilage of a listed building has no temporary use rights.

Important

The above permitted development rights do not override the need to:

  • Gain landowner’s approval
  • Have insurance and liability for any temporary use
  • Maintain public rights of way and access
  • Be COVID-19 Secure

The Council also requests that:

  • You keep a record of the days that the land is in temporary use and have this available upon request should officers need to enquire about the period of use. 
  • The hours of operation are mindful and respectful towards neighbours
  • The space is well managed
  • The land is kept free from litter and clean
  • There are appropriate arrangements in place for the safe disposal of waste

Whilst not a statutory requirement, you are able to apply for a Lawful Development Certificate for a Proposed use, and submit to the Local Planning Authority for confirmation.